Blues and the Rhino Music Fest

Yamil Jacobo of the Yamil Jacobo Trio, an Argentinian group appearing at the Durban International Blues Festival on Saturday, September 21.


DURBAN has a lot of musical treats to anticipate this week, and not only with the 15th Durban International Blues Festival at The Plant at 5 Station Drive, off Umgeni Road, on Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21.

Also worth diarising this week is a one-off performance by guitar ace Nathan Smith, presenting Guitar Legends, at Sibaya Casino’s Rockwood Theatre at 8pm on Wednesday, September 18. Expect music associated with Pink Floyd, Gary Moore, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top and others.

Smith has been making music for a while, having been associated with the acclaimed, international touring Queen tribute show starring Joseph Clark, and been a member of the Musiek Fabriek band that appeared weekly on TV’s Noot vir Noot. He has also done session work and collaborations with Ronan Keating, Richard Clayderman, Juanita du Plessis, Riana Nel, Laurika Rauch and others.

For more info or to book visit

Back to the Durban International Blues Festival which will launch at 7pm on Friday with a mix of music acts. Admission for this is free.

John Chamier has been involved with the co-ordination and hosting of the free evening at the Durban International Blues Festival for many years and is well known as part of the team

At Friday’s free event he will host the first Marshall Amplifier Evening which will open with a performance by The Sycamore Blues Band, followed from 8pm to 11pm by a blues jam with some of Durban’s finest blues musicians.

The line-up will include Rowan Stuart, Lance Goldman, Bad Advice, Tiffany Sheppard, Will Wallace and The Carmen Rodrigues Band. A cash bar will be available and Renegade Kitchen will offer meals for anyone keen to buy food.

Hit duo Qadasi will perform at the inaugural Rhino Music Festival in Dhongweni on October 5.

The festival finale on Saturday – for which seating is unreserved and admission is R180 a head via Quicket at (R200 at the door on the night) – will feature a great line-up including guest artists from Canada and Argentina.

The first act up, at 7pm, will be Black Water, followed by The Smoke Train at 8pm and Argentina’s The Yamil Jacobo Trio at 9pm.Completing the Saturday programme will be Canadian guitar ace Pat Savage, performing from 10pm with backing by popular Durban band The Reals.

Savage has been entertaining large crowds of blues fans in the American Mid-West, the Deep South, and across Canada for over 30 years, playing famous blues clubs. Since 2003, he has performed at top blues clubs in Europe.

Pat has opened up for and shared the stage with Albert King, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Matt Guitar Murphy, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Son Seals, Tommy Castro, Kim Simmons, Sonny Rhodes, Downchild Blues Band, Texas Playboys, Nighthawks, Tinsley Ellis, Colin James, Chris Duarte, Peer Gynt, Jeff Healey, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, to name but a few.

Pat’s live shows and CD releases, Wild World, Made In Detroit, Hog Wild and Wind & Fire, have all been critically acclaimed in blues society and blues magazines worldwide.

“This event, majorly sponsored by The Department of Arts and Culture,  returns to The Plant again this year, a venue which ticks all the boxes in terms of safety, security, parking and a general all round great and conducive vibe for such a festival,” says event spokesman Tanya van Agthoven-Marais.

Sticking with the music scene and looking ahead… many members of the local music community have come together to champion the fight against rhino poaching and wildlife crime by doing what they do best; holding a fun-filled day of music and generously giving their time for free.

The musicians have partnered with Project Rhino and will be hosting the inaugural Rhino Music Festival, aka Rhino Fest, which will be held at Shongweni’s Stonehaven Castle on Saturday, October 5.

The event will start at 11am and will feature live music  until late –  from stars such as Nibs van der Spuy and Guy Buttery, Calamity Jam, Tiffany Sheppard Band, Adagio, Dan Chiorboli and Vusi Mkhize, Rastas at Work and Kholwa Project to name a few. Also starring at the event will be Project Rhino Ambassadors Qadasi and Maqhinga.

The Durban area was chosen for the event as it has always been blessed with a wide variety of great musical styles, so you can expect a broad spectrum of music from pop, rock, Zulu maskanda to isicathimiya, reggae, Indian traditional, blues and a fusion of “world music” acoustic folk.

The event aims, firstly, to get as broad a multicultural and family-orientated audience as possible, and to raise urgently required funds for all Project Rhinos’ initiatives.

The event has also been arranged to offer a unique day of quality and diverse music, with informative conservation talks from experts. All of this can be enjoyed while sampling products and wears such as craft beers, gin and food from local producers.

Multi-talented musician Dan Chiorboli

“I have always been passionate about the bush and conservation from a young age’, says artistic director of the festival, musician Dan Chiorboli.

“The real tipping point for me was working closely with Kingsley Holgate on a Transfrontier project and getting to understand wildlife in a deeper sense. I also remember being profoundly moved by a talk that Ian Player gave and the passion he displayed about the role of the environment and the rhino world in particular.”

“With the state of the economy as it stands, I hate to ask musicians to play free” says Chiorboli, “but I’ve had relationships and great respect with many of these immensely talented artists that go back a long time and there was immediate buy-in from everyone, which has been extremely heart-warming and moving, and I thank them all very sincerely”.

Project Rhino believes the severity of wildlife crimes is not getting the attention it should. Crime is a significant threat to the country and wildlife crime is no different.

South Africa’s largest population of rhino has been halved in 10 years, resulting in a decreasing white rhino population. Conservationists know all too well how bad the situation is but unfortunately most people consider the problem has been resolved. This year already has seen (as of June 30, 2019) the country lose a further 316 rhinos.

“Having different sectors of the community coming together for this cause is brilliant as it shows that people do care. The event will showcase our cultural heritage which is in support of our natural heritage. It will help keep people aware of what is going on while supporting our efforts and having a pleasant day out at the same time” says Project Rhino Coordinator Chris Galliers.

Tickets for the event cost R150 each and will be available at the venue entrance. For more info call 083 312 4014 or mail:

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